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Huawei Y7a Review: Worthy Budget Contender

A winner for under Php 9k?

Verdict: The competition for the budget, sub-Php 10K segment is incredibly fierce here in the Philippines, but Huawei still has a strong contender with the Y7a. While people may have mixed thoughts about its Kirin 710A processor, the phone has robust features for what you’re paying for. 

The Y7a is priced at Php 8,999 and is available for pre-order until November 6. Those pre-ordering will get a Bluetooth headset, vouchers for mobile games like FreeFire, and rewards for apps like GCash, PayMaya, Viu, and FoodPanda.

Pros

22.5w charging in a sub-Php 10k phone

Well-optimized 48-megapixel main camera

Great Full HD+ display

 

Cons

Selfie camera tends to overexpose shots

Kirin 710A is dated with its 14nm process

While the spotlight for Huawei right now is their Mate 40 series, the brand still makes a large chunk of their money in the sub-Php 10k segment. Their latest budget performer, the Y7a, looks to be a great performer at the price category, its rather dated Kirin 710A processor notwithstanding

Design

For the first time in a Huawei phone, the brand has opted to use a punch-hole notch located in the center for the Y7a. At 6.67-inches and with a 20:9 aspect ratio, it is easy to mistake the Y7a for the Redmi Note 9s, which is a few thousand pesos more expensive.

The Y7a sports a distinctly Huawei back panel that houses a rectangular camera module reminiscent of the Nova 7 and Nova 7 SE. The camera bump isn’t that big, as battery’s 5000mAh size has forced Huawei to utilize every single bit of space and thickness in the phone’s chassis to accommodate it.

Like its more premium siblings, the Y7a opts for a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, keeping the back panel clean, on top of having a modern USB-C port.

Display and Audio

Making the Y7a a compelling device for under Php 9k is its display, as you get a large 6.67-inch display with a 20:9 aspect ratio and a Full HD+ resolution. The bezels are kept to a minimum, with the bottom bezel being thinner compared to the competition.

While you’re getting a conventional IPS panel with a 60hz refresh rate, you’re getting a good one with the Y7a: viewing angles are good, colors are vibrant enough, and its brightness is legible enough for outdoor use. Overall, it is the best possible type of display you can get for a sub-Php 9k phone.

As for audio quality, the Y7a’s single speaker at the bottom produces decent audio quality that is focused more on the mids. Audio fidelity is generally maintained throughout the whole volume range, though the lows have a tendency to clip when you max out the volume. If you prefer to use earphones, the Y7a does come with a headphone jack so that you can utilize your trusty pair of wired cans.

Cameras

Another standout feature of the Y7a is its quad-rear camera setup that is led by a 48-megapixel f/1.8 main camera and accompanied by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, 2-megapixel depth sensor, and 2-megapixel macro camera.

As far as the main camera is concerned, the Y7a can snap relatively great photos with good dynamic range, color accuracy, and detail. Low-light performance is acceptable—only if you switch to Night mode and keep your hands steady for a good 5 seconds. Night mode is only available with the main camera, so your shooting options are limited in low-light conditions.

As for the ultra-wide-angle and macro cameras, both snappers can deliver decent shots provided that you have good lighting—photos shot in low light suffer from a significant loss in detail.

The same cannot be said with its 8-megapixel selfie snapper. I noticed that the Y7a has a tendency to overexpose when taking photos in daylight but gets exposure right in low-light situations. I guess that this is more of a software-related issue, and I hope that Huawei addresses the exposure issues of the Y7a’s front camera.

When it comes to video, the Y7a is unique for being able to shoot Full HD at 60FPS. The resulting footage is pretty useful, though I recommend using a gimbal since you don’t get any form of stabilization with the Y7a.

Performance and Battery

The Y7a uses a variation of Huawei’s Kirin 710 with the Kirin 710a. Being the same chip used on the MatePad T 10s, the Kirin 710A has a slightly lower clock speed compared to its vanilla sibling, and that is partly due to its 14nm process (the Kirin 710 has a 12nm process). Check out the benchmark numbers below:

While the Kirin 710A’s 14nm manufacturing process is dated for 2020 standards, Huawei’s in-house chip performs just fine for usual tasks with its 4GB RAM. As for games, the Y7a can handle today’s popular titles, though you have to tone down graphics settings with some games to enjoy stable gameplay. As my daily driver, I have been using the Y7a to play Asphalt 9 for an hour or two, and the phone gave me stable gameplay all throughout.

Like other Huawei phones, the Y7a comes with Android 10-based EMUI 10.1.1 out of the box. For your app download needs, you have App Gallery and Petal Search. The former has a healthy selection of apps and games for download, while the latter supplements it by letting you find apps that are not available in App Gallery.

Even if the Y7a uses a rather dated Kirin 710a processor, its 5000mAh battery lasted around 15 and a half hours with our video loop test, which easily translates to over a days’ worth of use. That’s pretty good for a 14nm processor and shows that Huawei’s software optimization does a great job in stretching the Y7a’s legs.

Charging speeds on the Y7a is also class-leading, as it has one of the fastest charging speeds in the sub-Php 10k segment with Huawei’s in-house 22.5w SuperCharge solution. Using the supplied charger and USB-C cable, it takes around 2 hours to fully top up the battery.

Wrap up and conclusions

With the sub-Php 10k segment being more competitive than ever, the Y7a proves that Huawei has a strong entry in this highly lucrative segment. It is really nice to see features that used to be found on Huawei’s more premium phones to trickle down to the Y7a: these include a Full HD+ display, 22.5w SuperCharge wired charging, 48-megapixel main rear camera, and support for 60FPS shooting at Full HD.

Even if there are mixed thoughts about the use of a 14nm processor, Huawei’s Kirin 710A is one of the better chipsets in the budget segment when it comes to price-to-performance. For its Php 8,999 price tag, the Y7a is definitely one of the better budget phones you can buy for under Php 9k.

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